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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Satsang @ Sri Sri Ravishankar Ashram, Bangalore







Sometimes impromptu decisions can be more fulfilling than the planned ones. One such decision was to spend the Dusshera evening at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ashram (Art of Living), Kanakpura Road. The ashram is situated in the scenic hillside locales of South Banglore. Once one enters the toll gates to hit the Kanakpura road, one immediately gets the feeling of being transported to another world. Leaving behind the dust and grime of Bangalore roads, this stretch of about 10-15 mins has the best roads in the city. Wide and covered with a green canopy at most points, this road offers a very panoramic view sans the tall and short glass and concrete structures that dot Bangalore. It ensures that one is already refreshed by the time one enters the Ashram gates.

We reached the ashram around 6:30 in the evening. Built over an area of 60 acres, this one nestles a meditation center, auditoriums, guest houses, shopping marts and dining halls among other things. The crowd had just started to gather at the open air auditorium Paduka, which is built in the shape of the human feet. There is also a water body and fountains in the center of the auditorium. The early birds had already taken up  the vantage points to be able to have a clear view of Sri Sri when he addressed the gathering. Chairs had been put up for the dignitaries. Within a span of twenty minutes, the place was totally packed with some people even squatting on the grass. Finally Sri Sri arrived and waved to the crowd which enthusiastically waved back in response.





























It was my first experience of attending the satsang which boasts of performances by renowned musicians and artists from around the world. With swans lazily ambling along the banks of the water body and a star spangled sky, one could not have asked for a more beautiful setting to embark on a spiritual sojourn.The satsang started with a beautiful 'Om Namah Shivay' bhajan. It was followed by a small speech by Sri Sri who also greeted "Happy Vijaya Dashami" to a frenzied crowd. Using the simplest terms, he put it as the victory of greatness over pettiness or the big mind over the small one. He also discussed the state of the human mind ('tadap', 'tripti' and 'jadta' which can be loosely translated as longing, contentment and indifference)and what it can lead to. He also mentioned the humongous amount of food ( which was more than 1.5 lakh kilos but I do not remember the exact amount ) that had been cooked in the ashram's kitchen during the Navratri festivities and included a note of thanks for the cooks who had made this possible . A Kuchipudi by a male artist (the guy also happened to be a neurologist and surgeon) performance followed the address. There was also an announcement about the planned electrification of 5000 homes through a tie-up with Schneider Foundation.

Finally, it ended with a mellifluous rendition of 'Narayana narayana jai jai gobinda hare' which had the crowd on their feet. Soon Sri Sri left the dais but not before wishing "Happy birthday" to all the folks whose birthday fell on that particular day. A simple gesture but one that definitely added to the charm and aura of this renowned spiritual Guru. Once it had ended, everyone left the place in a disciplined manner. No unruly pushing or breaking into a stampede. Some of the folks proceeded to the dining hall of the sprawling campus. But since it was already late, we left the ashram. The chants were still resounding in my mind as we drove towards our destination.



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